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Liar Liar, Pants On Fire!

30/07/2015 16:30 BST | Updated 30/07/2016 10:59 BST

"It's not cool to lie," I tell my son.

It's a house rule, The Law, and yet it's become obvious to both of us that I'm not really leading by example.

I lie to my son almost every day, at least twice a week, usually little white ones that I've gauged to be for his own benefit, but they're lies all the same.

And he's started catching me at it. Having hoovered up one bowl of ice cream, he requests another. "We're all out," I casually fib. After peering, Poirot-like in the recycling for an empty tub, it's clear to him that I'm not being entirely honest.

Don't get me started on the number of pet goldfish I've replaced since inadvertently becoming some kind of aquarium serial killer. Five dead fish since January, all cunningly swapped out for shiny new ones without my little man's knowledge.

I have felt the occasional pang of guilt as he's chatted to 'Bookworm' completely unaware it's actually 'Bookworm Mark 4'. I could, of course, use the great goldfish massacre as an opportunity to broach the subject of death but much kinder, and less complicated, to engage in subterfuge.

There are some lies that simply get you through the day. "Dora the Explorer has gone on holiday!" (it's either that or I'm going to put my foot through the TV screen). "It's 7 o'clock...time for bed!" (it's actually 6.30pm but it's been a long day and, thankfully, you can't yet tell the time).

It is, I believe, impossible for parents to avoid telling a few porkies but some really do take it to another level.

Like my friend who told her son his third birthday was the day after his actual birthday so she and her husband could take advantage of a free trip to Paris. "He'll never know," she said as she trotted off to the Eurostar for a weekend of booze, cheese and much-needed 'me' time with her other half.

A former colleague actually told his sons that if they didn't go to sleep at night he would be unable to recharge their batteries and they would, simply, stop. Excessive, yes, but what lengths wouldn't you go to for a smooth bedtime ritual.

He also claimed the ice cream man only played music when he was all sold out of the sweet stuff. Cruel, or an ingenious way to avoid cavities and childhood obesity?

And this fibbing to the kids is nothing new. How many of us 40-somethings were told that eating our crusts would make our hair curly? Despite a lifetime of crust-munching my hair remains poker straight.

My own mother, a paragon of truth and virtue, had me convinced that if I ever littered, 'the wombles would get me!' I spent my childhood in fear of those furry Wimbledon Common dwellers, convinced that, like some crack team of eco-terrorists, they would take me down if I dropped my empty Ribena carton in the street.

For those still insisting they never, ever tell lies to their little ones I have two simple words, Father Christmas. A wonderful lie but a lie all the same.